Watch beachgoers rush to save a stranded great white shark rather than run away screaming.

Earlier this week, a young great white shark was spotted on a beach in Cape Cod. Literally. On the beach.

Witnesses say he was trying to catch some seagulls loafing around in the surf when suddenly he found himself stuck upside down on the sand.

A normal human reaction to this might be to casually move your umbrella a bit farther down the beach and, of course, never, ever go swimming at that beach again.


But the swimmers in Cape Cod that day decided to do more.

Bystanders decided to try to keep the shark alive until help arrived.

With sandcastle buckets and whatever else they could find, they tossed water on the helpless shark to keep him wet.

Once experts got there, they kept hydrating the shark until they could tow it back to the water. GIFs from Mike Bartel/YouTube.

If you're like me the first time I watched this rescue, you might be wondering why someone didn't just pick the shark up and toss him back in the water. You know, besides the high likelihood of losing a hand in the process.

Well, they say the stranded shark was over 6 feet long, which, based on the known size of the average adult great white, means this little guy probably weighed somewhere between 500 and 1,000 pounds.

So, buckets of water it was.

It took over an hour for harbormaster Stuart Smith and local shark expert Gregory Skomal to arrive on the scene.

From there, they were able to tie a pulley to the shark and drag him back into the water via motorboat, where they then tagged him for tracking.

Wheeeeeeeeee!

The shark had a little trouble rolling back onto his belly and swimming away, but with a bit of assistance and a VIP boat ride back out to deeper water, rescuers eventually sent him on his way.

Back to open waters, my friend.

The shark survived, thanks to quick-thinking bystanders who didn't let their fear of sharks get in the way of doing the right thing.

It's a little jarring to see such a powerful creature like this great white lying on his back, entirely helpless. But it's worth remembering: Even though the thought of sharks like this swimming on a beach alongside hundreds or thousands of swimmers is terrifying, shark attacks really aren't all that common.

In fact, between 1876 and 2013, there were fewer than 300 total confirmed shark attacks in the entire world, with less than half of those being fatal.

After all, this shark was only after seagulls. Not swimmers.

And now he gets a second chance at snagging a tasty, feathered meal. And many more to come.


Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Photo courtesy of John Scully

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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